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Afghanistan orders YouTube block over anti-Islam film

Last modified: 14 Sep 2012 04:35

Authorities in Afghanistan have ordered that YouTube's website be blocked indefinitely to stop Afghans watching a US -made film that insults the Prophet Muhammad which has sparked unrest elsewhere, government sources told Reuters on Thursday.

"I welcome any decision by the government because it badly affects the minds of young Afghans," a senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Another government official, who also declined to be identified, confirmed the ministry had ordered all Afghan Internet providers to block YouTube's site.

Fears the video could provoke riots prompted at least one provider to act before the government's orders were received.

"We have not yet been told, but we blocked YouTube ... to avoid the blood of innocents spilling over. All it takes is one Mullah watching that video, and then he'll preach about it later on, causing chaos", said Farhad Fazi, the president of Internet provider AFSAT.

However, YouTube may remain accessible to some Internet users until Saturday as some of Afghanistan's major servers are based in India and the United Arab Emirates.

An official at the Ministry of Communications said on Wednesday that an order had been issued to block the site until the film was taken down.

YouTube was shut for several hours in Afghanistan but was then restored. Afghan Internet users were still able to view it on Thursday.

The film-related violence in the Muslim world prompted Afghan President Hamid Karzai to postpone a Friday trip to Oslo, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry said, adding that he wanted to remain at home at this time.

[Source: Reuters]